We look at new WSU roster numbers, and analyze the roster to see who packed on some muscle and who shed some weight in the offseason.
Gabe Marks and River Cracraft made history wearing the No. 9 and No. 21 jerseys, respectively during their Washington State careers. The No. 9 WSU jersey and the name “Gabe Marks” became synonymous especially after Marks created his Twitter handle “ThrowItUpTo9” and in a show of solidarity, Marks even wore Cracraft’s No. 21 during some practices the week after Cracraft tore his ACL last fall.
Marks and Cracraft finished their WSU careers last fall ranked first and second on WSU’s career receptions list, but as the new 2017 football roster that was released Wednesday shows, you will nonetheless see the No. 9 and No. 21 jerseys on the field again at Martin Stadium this year.
Sophomore outside receiver Isaiah Johnson-Mack switched from the No. 5 he wore in 2016 to Marks’ No. 9. We won’t read too much into it, but, from a standpoint of pure moxie alone, perhaps it bodes well for the Cougars that a promising young receiver is embracing the spot vacated by Marks.
Johnson-Mack and Tavares Martin Jr. — who retained his No. 8 jersey — are two of the favorites to fill Marks’ shoes as Luke Falk’s go-to outside target.
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Coug fans who’ve become accustomed to seeing Cracraft’s No. 21 jersey on offense will have to re-calibrate their brains this year. The No. 21 jersey has been claimed by senior cornerback Marcellus Pippins, who wore No. 27 last season. If history is any indication, Pippins will be on the field a lot. He’s started 24 games in the last three years and is fighting to reclaim his starting job again going into fall camp next week.
Other interesting jersey number observations from the new roster:
- There’s a new Bledsoe on the Palouse wearing Drew Bledsoe‘s iconic No. 11 jersey. Bledsoe’s son, John, is a walk-on freshman quarterback for the Cougars this season, and he’s assumed his father’s No. 11.
- Jamire Calvin, the highly touted four-star receiver from Cathedral High in Los Angeles, was lucky enough to retain the No. 6 jersey that he wore in high school.
- With Kyrin Priester gone, the No. 1 jersey goes to freshman receiver Davontavean “Tay” Martin, who also wore No. 1 in high school.
- Sophomore cornerback Marcus Strong has switched from No. 37 to No. 4
Packing on muscle
The new roster also showed new heights/weights. Here’s a look at who gained and who lost weight over the offseason.
Biggest gainer: Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Josh Watson, who put on a whopping 28 pounds and is listed as 6-foot-4, 292 pounds.
Biggest loser: Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Keenen King lost 21 pounds, going from 324 pounds to a svelte 6-foot-4, 303 pounds.
Some other noteworthy gainers/losers:
- Quarterback Luke Falk played the 2016 season at about 216 pounds, but is now listed at 223 pounds on the new roster
- Left tackle Andre Dillard gained 10 pounds and is now a sturdy 306 — he was 270 two years ago, and 295 at the start of last season.
- The Continent has increased its land mass. Left guard Cody O’Connell went from 354 pounds to 368 – a 14-pound increase. He’s also listed at 6-foot-9 instead of 6-foot-8.
- Senior receiver C.J Dimry is a little less lanky at 6-foot-5, 211 pounds (instead of the 201 he played at last season.)
- Dimry’s roommate, backup quarterback Tyler Hilinski, is also less lanky this year, having gained seven pounds to get up to 213. Hilinski is listed at 6-foot-3.
- Receiver Dezmon Patmon has added some good weight — going from 207 pounds in his freshman season to 212 pounds this year.
- Will linebacker Isaac Dotson (6-1) went from 224 pounds to 232 and looks every bit as jacked as that sounds. Rush linebacker Logan Tago added 12 pounds and is now a strapping 6-foot-3, 247 pounds.
- Meanwhile, middle linebacker Peyton Pelluer shed 10 pounds and will play at 225 pounds this season.
- Running backs Gerard Wicks and James Williams each shed about five pounds — perhaps to get more nimble? — and are listed at 221 pounds and 195 pounds, respectively.
- To prep for his move to nose tackle, Dan Ekuale has put on 15 pounds and now stands at a hefty 6-3, 305.
- Derek Moore, who saw considerable action as a freshman defensive end, also packed on some good weight, gaining 25 pounds to get up to 248.
- Fellow defensive end Nnamdi Oguayo also gained 10 pounds and is now up to 6-foot-3, 237 pounds.
- With Fred Mauigoa gearing up for a possible starting role at center, the Cougars’ strength staff put some bulk on him. He gained 26 pounds, going from 289 to 315.
- Keeping with the theme of bigger offensive linemen, B.J. Salmonson, the likely starter at right guard, gained 14 pounds and is now listed as 6-foot-4, 310 pounds.
- Noah Osur-Myers, who is also in the mix for playing time on the offensive line, went down from 312 pounds to 295, a loss of 17 pounds.
- Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Christian Haangana, who’s known as “The Chef” also slimmed down from 375 to 362 pounds.
- Starting cornerback Darrien Molton gained 10 pounds and is now listed at 5-foot-10, 185 pounds. Meanwhile, safety Robert Taylor put on six pounds to get to 186, and safety Jalen Thompson added eight pounds to get to 191.
- D’Jimon Jones, a Federal Way product, has gained 13 pounds to help his transition from quarterback to nickelback. He’s listed ts 5-foot-11, 193 pounds.
- Justus Rogers, the former Bellevue quarterback, has added 10 pounds to his 6-foot-2 frame as he prepares for a role at middle linebacker. He’s now up to 225.
- Grant Porter moved from receiver to defensive back and has gained 14 pounds to help him throw his weight around against receivers — he’s now listed at 192.
- Chima Oneukwu, who could see some time at linebacker this year, added 10 pounds and is listed at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds.
- Kicker Erik Powell (6-foot-1) is up seven pounds to 202.
- This is what a redshirt year does for freshmen: reserve linebacker Dillon Sherman went from 208 pounds to 220 and rush linebacker Mason Vinyard also gained 12 pounds to get to 237.
- Walk-on receiver Brandon Arconado gained 17 pounds in the offseason and now stands at 5-foot-11, 182 pounds.
- Walk-on quarterback Anthony Gordon has gained 12 pounds and is now listed as 6-foot-3, 192 pounds.
Nose tackle Ngalu Tapa has left the team. He was still on the football team for spring ball but did not participate due to academic issues. Offensive lineman Amosa Sakaria and running back Romello Harris have also left the team.
Harris, who’s from Tulare, Calif. said Thursday that he left WSU to be closer to his family. The Cougars granted him his release and he has since transferred to Fresno State. Harris will have to sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules, but will be eligible to play in 2018.